Woke in the WELS: Joan Price and The Marxification of Education, WELS Lutheran Leadership Conference #5

I've been reading James Lindsay's The Marxification of Education for reasons that will become clear in future blog posts. In chapter 6, "Generative Themes and the Theft of Education" on pages 135-138, James quotes Gloria Ladson-Billings. I thought to myself, that name rings a bell.... Gloria... Gloria... ...Joan Prince! Indeed, Gloria and Joan appeared together on the Real Talk Racial Justice Summit.

Gloria published two seminal papers in 1995 entitled "Toward a Critical Race Theory in Education" and “Toward a Theory of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.” The latter according to Lindsay 'is a simple repackaging of [Paulo] Freire's generative-themes model that uses racial and other identity politics as the source for generative material'. I read her paper on culturally relevant pedagogy. To quote Gloria "Teachers... must help students recognize, understand, and critique current social inequities" (pg. 476). "Knowledge is not static, it is shared, recycled and constructed... Knowledge must be viewed critically" (pg. 481). Gloria discusses fighting the "right-answer approach" to learning (pg. 482) and "the development of a sociopolitical or critical consciousness" (pg.483).  Gloria branded the now common term "Culturally Relevant Teaching", essentially a Freirean approach to education welded to Critical Race Theory, according to James. Gloria is extremely influential in modern education. Between her three papers written in 1995 she has over 25,000 citations. 

This is not the place to try and tease out Freire's impact on Gloria and modern education. Read her paper for yourself, and check out Lindsay's book if you like, but from the quotes above we can see the incorporation of social justice into education, a dismissal of objective truth and the idea there are 'right answers', and that education should lead to activism. This model of education is agenda driven and not neutral, and its goal is to raise a Marxist critical consciousness.

The link between Gloria and Joan becomes clear in the video. Joan is upper right, Gloria is bottom left. Joan refers to Gloria as "a queen" (5m 07s) and says that "I think that is the best compliment that I could have received to be linked to my sister Gloria" (3m 15s). They are friends, it becomes clear as you listen to them interact with each other over the course of the video. Joan pays obeisance to Gloria, bowing to her (on two different occasions):

You might be thinking "OK, so Gloria has some ideas when it comes to education and you are imputing guilt-by-association because they appear on the same summit?" No, not quite. My point is that Joan is who she says she is, despite the protests from the organizer of the WELS Lutheran Leadership Conference who said that I should 'trust him' that 'her private views don't quite line up with her public views'. But it's clear here - they are friends that go way back and what Gloria advocates, Joan implements in the form of DEI, mandatory anti-bias and anti-racist training (a form of activism). Insofar as it involves pulling stories and thoughts from the participants it implements Freirean 'mining' of the students (pg 479). Slides from her presentation at the WELS Lutheran Leadership Conference to 'use a "working definition" of race exemplifies the notion of socially constructed knowledge as opposed to objective truth. This isn't by chance.

Again, to be clear, my aim is squarely at the WELS, not Joan Prince. WELS leadership made a conscious decision in platforming Dr. Price (and Dr. Fisher - we'll save that for next time). WELS leadership was aware of her priors, prior to the conference. There were a number of laymen and called workers who presented this information, independently and without coordination, prior to the conference. We were assured that what we found online didn't represent who she was. 

The evidence appears to the contrary. She is exactly who she presents to be, and the WELS Lutheran Leadership Conference gives these ideas top billing. By platforming Dr. Prince as the keynote speaker of their synod-branded and sponsored conference - which according to our doctrine of church and ministry is an instantiation of 'church' - the WELS has essentially elevated Dr. Prince to a teacher of the Church, and the admonition from 1 Tim 5 applies:

'Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.'

If Marxism is a theology, a demonic inversion, a competing religion, then Matthew 6:24 must apply: 

'No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.' 

You cannot serve both God and Marx